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Use These Jiu Jitsu Moves To Defend Yourself Against Hate Crimes

One woman is providing a toolkit to fight back against physical assault

Hate- and bias-motivated incidents have spiked since the election of Donald Trump. Between November 9 and November 14, the Southern Poverty Law Center collected 437 reports of hateful intimidation and harassment, including hate speech, publicly drawn swastikas, and forced removal of hijabs. In the last 10 days, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has recorded 111 incidents specifically targeting Muslims, most often against women wearing hijabs.

In response, Chicago-based behavioral therapist Zaineb “Zee” Abdulla developed a “Hate Crime Defense Seminar” designed for Muslim women. With the help of Misho Ceko, the head instructor at Chicago Mixed Martial Arts, Abdulla designed moves for defending against strangers grabbing a headscarf. The tactics are based on Brazilian jiu jitsu techniques.


This move is for fending off people grabbing your hijab from the front:

This move is for fighting a hijab grab from behind:

Islamophobic activity in America has been rising for years. The FBI reported 257 assaults, attacks on mosques, and other anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015 (67 percent more than in 2014).

(Also see: Using jiu jitsu to combat mental illness)

Likewise, self-defense classes for scarf-wearing Muslim women—whose more visible religious identity leaves them bearing the brunt of this violence—are nothing new. But they are growing in the wake of Trump’s election.

“In this post-election hate crime spike, self-defense is more important than ever,” Abdulla said on her Facebook page. “Practice … until it becomes muscle memory and teach your body to react before thinking.”

In addition to Abdulla’s seminar, the Women’s Initiative for Self Improvement, which toured its anti-hate crime classes around the country this year, is ramping up its own anti-hate crime self-defense event programming. WISE is hosting a class in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Saturday and one in Queens, New York, on Sunday. You can find future events here.

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